OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 30

30th January 2019

MALTA-BASED ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR BETWAY UNDER SCRUTINY OVER PANAMA PAPERS

The Times of Malta on 29th January reported that Betway is being subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Belgian Gaming Commission for its operations in Belgium following an investigation connected to the Panama Papers. A probe was launched in 2017 after the company’s was mentioned in the Panama Papers, which detailed an opaque corporate structure of companies looking to minimise tax obligations in various countries.

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20190129/local/malta-based-online-gambling-firm-under-scrutiny-over-panama-papers.700536

PARAGUAY’S UNDERGROUND ECONOMY

World Finance on 30th January reported that illegal transactions can contribute as much as 40% of the country’s GDP.  The distribution of wealth is very unequal: 80% of land is held by 2.5% of the population, and 161 people control 90% of the wealth of the country.  Paraguay remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It ranks 4th in terms of extreme poverty, after Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, according to a 2016 ECLAC report.  While the official unemployment rate hovers at around 19%, only 5.34% of Paraguayans are fully employed.  Due to the country’s reliance on agriculture, many people work in the informal sector.  Tobacco smuggling is the most lucrative business in Paraguay.  The article concludes that the trade of illicit goods cannot be blamed entirely on one country and both Paraguay and Brazil will need to work together if they are going to tackle the issue – but as long as political corruption exists on both sides of the border, the illegal economy will continue to flourish.

https://www.worldfinance.com/markets/the-underground-economy-of-paraguay

GUERNSEY SEEKS REGULATORY CERTAINTY ON APPLICATION OF ELECTRONIC CDD

International Investment on  29th January reported that a Guernsey FSC spokesperson outlined an approach to provide greater regulatory reassurance in the application of electronic customer due diligence (CDD).  It says that the lodging of the Electronic Transactions (Electronic Agents) (Guernsey), 2019 Ordinance earlier this month in the island offers greater certainty as the use of artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology grows.  It says it will boost confidence and enable adopters of technology solutions to use Guernsey.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4000663/guernsey-seeks-regulatory-certainty-application-electronic-cdd

ILLICIT MONEY GUSHING OUT OF BANGLADESH

On 30th January, the Asia Times reported that as much as $81.74 billion was siphoned off the country in 2006-2015, according to a study by research NGO Global Financial Integrity.  The money is said to have been drained out through over-invoicing in imports and under-invoicing in exports, a common but illegal accounting technique which in many countries deprives governments of huge amounts of revenue.  It is estimated that 17.5% of Bangladesh’s total trade worth $33.7 billion with “advanced economies”, was laundered in 2015.

http://www.atimes.com/article/illicit-money-gushing-out-of-bangladesh/

MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING STATISTICS FOR WEST AFRICA SHOW A DROP

Punch in Nigeria on 30th January reported that the Inter-Governmental Action against Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing in West Africa, an organ of the regional body ECOWAS, claims to have observed a reduction in terror financing and money laundering activities among member countries of the Economic Community of West African States in 2018.  The body was established in 2000 to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.  It has also embarked on mutual evaluation of more West African countries, including Senegal, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso.

https://punchng.com/terror-financing-dips-in-2018-ecowas/

DENMARK PROPOSES TOUGHENING OF AML CONTROLS

On 30th January, Payments Compliance reported that the Danish FSA had issued 23 proposals on 29th January aimed at improving AML controls in the wake of the Danske Bank scandal.

https://paymentscompliance.com/premium-content/research_report/denmark-fsa-publishes-proposals-strengthening-money-laundering

PODCAST: THE OIL-FOR-FOOD SCHEME

In the latest TRACE podcast, David Montero discusses his new book “Kickback” and tells the story of how Saddam Hussein found collaborators willing to help him thwart the purpose of the UN Oil-for-food programme and prop up his thuggish regime.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

UK: TAX AVOIDANCE AND TAX EVASION

On 30th January, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which provides an introduction to the issue of tax avoidance, looking in detail at the development of follower notices and accelerated payments, before discussing the current UK Government’s approach, including the introduction of the 2019 Loan Charge.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7948

TRIAL DATE SET FOR FORMER PANAMA PRESIDENT

Kenneth Rijock on 30th January reported that the trial of former President Martinelli of Panama has been set for 12th March.  He faces charges of corruption and for illegally conducting audio and video surveillance of some of Panama’s most prominent citizens, and had to be extradited back from the US to face trial.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

 SLOVAKIA: PARLIAMENT OVERRIDES PRESIDENT’S VETO OVER GAMBLING LAW

Calvin Ayre on 30th January reported that Slovakia’s online gambling liberalisation is back on schedule after legislators overrode the veto of the country’s President.  Amongst the provisions in the Bill is one ending the state online gambling monopoly.  But the state operator will retain its monopoly over online lotteries, bingo and raffles with online casino and sports betting products will now be open to competition.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/30/business/slovakia-parliament-overrides-gambling-law-veto/

BETFAIR PULLS OUT OF INDIA AFTER BEING PUBLICLY ATTACKED

Calvin Ayre on 30th January reported that online gambling operator Betfair is not taking bets from India after being publicly called out for flouting local laws.  A letter from the All India Gaming Federation accused 9 online gambling websites, including 1xbet, Bet365 and other familiar faces of “luring and accepting bets from Indian citizens” without local authorisation.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/30/business/betfair-rejects-india-sports-bettors/

SAUDI ARABIA CHARGES 126 WITH CORRUPTION

On 30th January, OCCRP reported that Saudi authorities charged 126 local government employees across the country with corruption, abuse of power and other crimes as part of a controversial anti-corruption campaign that started in 2017.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9180-saudi-arabia-crackdown-on-local-govt-corruption

GERMAN MP DISCIPLINED FOR ROLE IN AZERBAIJANI LAUNDROMAT

OCCRP on 30th January reported that on January 18th, the German parliament ruled that Karin Strenz, an MP from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party (CDU), broke parliamentary rules on declaring external income by failing to disclose money and gifts she received from Azerbaijani lobbyists.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9181-german-mp-disciplined-for-role-in-azerbaijani-laundromat

UK: MINOR OFFENCES MAY STAY SECRET AFTER LEGAL CHALLENGE FAILS

The Guardian reported on 30th January that people given police cautions or reprimands as children or those convicted of multiple minor offences may not have to disclose them in future after the government lost a legal challenge in the Supreme Court to the criminal record checks system.  The Court rejected 3 of the appeals by the Home Office over the issue of whether those who were found guilty of lesser offences or cautions need to disclose them when seeking employment involving contact with children and vulnerable adults.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jan/30/minor-offences-may-stay-secret-after-legal-challenge-fails

SIERRA LEONE OPENS GRAFT PROBE INTO ACTIONS OF PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT

Baker McKenzie reported on 30th January that the government of Sierra Leone has tasked a special commission with investigating allegations of widespread corruption and abuse of office under the previous administration.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/sierra-leone-opens-graft-probe-into-actions-of-previous-govt/

US CUSTOMS SEIZE NEARLY $1 MILLION CASH AT MEXICAN BORDER

On 30th January, Homeland Preparedness reported that US Customs and Border Protection officers at Juarez-Lincoln Bridge, between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, seized $988,550 in unreported currency.  The funds were discovered during a physical examination of a 2010 Nissan Maxima driven by a 20-year-old female US citizen, and hidden inside the vehicle was 53 bundles of currency.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/32298-cbp-officers-seize-nearly-1m-in-currency/

GERMANY, FRANCE AND 8 OTHERS FAIL TO FULLY TRANSPOSE EU 4TH AML DIRECTIVE

On 30th January, KYC 360 reported that the European Commission has written to authorities in Germany and France, as well as 8 other Member States, for failing to completely transpose the Directive into national laws.  The Directive was adopted in 2015; and all Member States had to transpose its rules by 26th June 2017.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/germany-france-fail-to-fully-transpose-eu-fourth-anti-money-laundering-directive-4amld/

CRYPTOCURRENCY THEFTS AND SCAMS HIT $1.7 BILLION IN 2018

KYC 360 on 30th January reported that cryptocurrencies stolen from exchanges and scammed from investors surged more than 400% in 2018 to around $1.7 billion, according to a report from US-based cyber security firm CipherTrace.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/cryptocurrency-thefts-scams-hit-1-7-billion-in-2018-report/

MONGOLIA PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER OUSTED AMID CORRUPTION SCANDAL

Reuters on 30th January reported that Mongolia’s parliamentary speaker, Enkhbold Myegombo, has been ousted following weeks of public protests against him over accusations he was involved in the corrupt sale of government positions.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mongolia-politics/mongolia-parliamentary-speaker-ousted-amid-corruption-scandal-idUKKCN1PO0EH

US REPORT CLAIMS CHINA BRIBING PACIFIC NATIONS

Radio New Zealand on 30th January reported that a new US intelligence report accuses China of aligning itself with Pacific Island nations through bribery, investments and greater engagement while it pursues the construction of military and other facilities in the region.

https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381308/us-report-claims-china-bribing-pacific-nations

USING DOCUMENTS DISCLOSED IN ENGLISH PROCEEDINGS TO SEEK LEGAL ADVICE IN RELATED FOREIGN PROCEEDINGS – CAUTION REQUIRED

A briefing from Allen & Overy on 23rd January deals with the question of how, or if, you can use documents obtained in discovery for one litigation in another case, in the same country or overseas.  It says that 2 recent cases have considered applications by litigants wanting to use documents disclosed in English proceedings (or information derived from them) to seek foreign legal advice in related on-going or contemplated foreign proceedings.  It warns of the problems.

http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/using-documents-disclosed-in-english-proceedings-to-seek-legal-advice-in-related-foreign-proceedings-caution-required.aspx

UK: TAX AVOIDANCE AND TAX EVASION

On 30th January, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which provides an introduction to the issue of tax avoidance, looking in detail at the development of follower notices and accelerated payments, before discussing the current UK Government’s approach, including the introduction of the 2019 Loan Charge.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7948

WHAT’S DRIVING THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BLACK MARKET IN INFANT FORMULA MILK?

Illicit Trade on 29th January explains that, given the choice, the vast majority of new parents in China will opt to give their babies infant formula milk made outside of their country.  8 out of the top 10 baby formula brands sold in China are made by foreign companies.  New parents remain sceptical as to the safety of locally-made alternatives in the wake of a baby powder scandal over a decade ago in which contaminated formula caused the deaths of six infants and poisoned as many as 300,000.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/01/whats-driving-the-multi-million-dollar-black-market-in-infant-formula-milk/

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 29

29th January 2019

CHINESE CHIP GIANT FUJIAN JINHUA TO CEASE OPERATIONS AFTER US BAN

Silicon on 28th January reported that Fujian Jinhua, China’s massive state-backed chip start-up, is set to shutter production in the next few weeks due to a block on parts from the US.  Jinhua was founded in February 2016 with a $5.6 billion investment from the Chinese government and Fujian province.

https://www.silicon.co.uk/workspace/chinese-chip-giant-fujian-jinhua-to-cease-dram-production-after-us-ban-240903?inf_by=5b8983f8671db8b3538b4ced

THE SEARCH FOR IRAQ’S LOOTED ARTEFACTS GETS SERIOUS

VoA on 28th January carried an article saying that before Islamic State militants were dislodged from Iraq in 2017, they stole thousands of ancient artefacts.  Most are still missing, and an international team of archaeologists is turning detective to recover as many as possible.  A a workshop at Baghdad’s National Museum has been convened to co-ordinate international retrieval efforts.  It brought together Iraqi and foreign police, customs officials and archaeological experts, and was the second in 2 years organized by the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq.

https://www.voanews.com/a/at-baghdad-workshop-the-search-for-iraq-s-looted-artifacts-gets-serious/4763077.html

ZIMBABWE: BEEKEEPERS SMUGGLING HONEY TO EXPORT MARKETS

Newsday on 28th January reported that Zimbabwe is losing a lot of potential revenue through illegal exportation of honey to neighbouring countries, as most beekeepers continue to shun formal honey export procedures due to exorbitant levies charged by government, an industry official has said.  Zambia, Botswana and South Africa as some of the destinations for the honey.

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/01/beekeepers-smuggling-honey-to-export-markets/

ISLE OF MAN TO FIND OUT IF IT’S ON EU TAX BLACKLIST BY 12 MARCH

Manx Radio on 28th March reported that the Isle of Man could find out as soon as 12th March if it is included on the EU 2019 tax blacklist, an EU official has said.  The Island, Jersey and Guernsey have made changes to tax laws over the “economic substance” of companies with links to the islands.  EU finance ministers will make the final decision on the list following talks which could be as soon as 12th March.

https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/iom-to-find-out-if-its-on-eu-tax-blacklist-by-12-march/

THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY IN UAE

One World Middle East has published an article saying that UAE has emerged as one of the world largest diamond trading hub.  Traders from all over the world to set base in Dubai including most of the large diamond companies in India.

https://www.oneworldmideast.net/en-gb/media/news/2018/the-diamond-industry-in-uae/

FCA CONSULTS ON CRYPTOASSETS REGULATION

On 28th January, Gowling WLG published an article saying that the FCA has published its Consultation Paper which sets out guidance on how cryptoassets can be subject to FCA regulation.  In the article, the firm’s experts summarise the FCA’s expectations and highlight the key considerations for firms.  The Guidance seeks to clarify where different categories of cryptoasset tokens fall in relation to the FCA’s regulatory perimeter – and whether a security token, utility token and exchange token.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2019/fca-consults-on-cryptoassets-regulation/?utm_source=insight&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=insights

FIRED COMPLIANCE OFFICER SUES MONEYGRAM

Corporate Counsel on 28th January reported that he claims he was fired after 6 months on the job after he repeatedly brought up compliance failures that allegedly violated the company’s 2012 deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ and a 2009 order by the Federal Trade Commission.  He was a former compliance officer at MoneyGram International Inc. in Dallas.

https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/2019/01/28/fired-compliance-officer-sues-moneygram-claiming-retaliation-for-citing-violations/

UK IVORY BILL TO COME INTO FORCE IN 2019

On 29th December, DEFRA issued updated information on this Bill, which will ban the commercial use of ivory in the UK.  It includes information on the 5 categories of items exempted from the ban, and details what actions those wishing to sell exempt items will need to take to be compliant with the ban.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ivory-bill-2018

EX-FUGEES MEMBER FIGHTING A $38 MILLION FORFEITURE ORDER LINKED TO FUGITIVE MALAYSIAN FINANCIER JHO LOW

Prakazrel ‘Pras’ Michel, a founding member of the hit 1990s group, is fighting the US government over a $38 million civil forfeiture complaint.  He is accused of aiding a scheme to try and get the DoJ to drop an investigation into embezzlement from a Malaysian investment fund, 1MDB, according to the complaint.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6644319/Ex-Fugees-member-Pras-fighting-38-million-forfeiture-complaint.html

UK: CRIME (OVERSEAS PRODUCTION ORDERS) BILL

On 29th January, the House of Commons Library published a briefing on this Bill which would create a framework to enable law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the UK to apply to a court in the UK for an ‘overseas production order’ requiring a person (in practice, generally a communications service provider) in a foreign jurisdiction to produce or grant access to electronic data for the purposes of investigating and prosecuting serious crime.  Orders would only be available where there was a designated international agreement in place between the UK and the country or territory where the CSP was based. No such agreements are currently in force, but the UK has been in the process of negotiating a data sharing agreement with the USA since 2015.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8449

WESTERN GOVERNMENTS – NAMING AND SHAMING STATES SUSPECTED OF INFILTRATING THEIR CRITICAL NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

A Commentary from RUSI on 29th January said that Western governments are shedding their inhibitions about naming and shaming states suspected of infiltrating their critical national infrastructure; and saying that this is a good step, but should be just the beginning.  It discusses “hardware attacks”, such as where using computer chips illegally attached to Chinese-made servers and shipped all over the world.

https://rusi.org/commentary/hard-hardware-breach

US INDICTMENT AGAINST HUAWEI

The complete text of the US indictment against Huawei is available online.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/press-release/file/1125036/download

THE KIDNAP, RANSOM AND MURDER OF FOUNDER OF THE 5DIMES SPORTSBOOK IN COSTA RICA

On 29th January, Calvin Ayre provided an update on the case where, in September, the founder of the 5Dimes sportsbook, William Sean Creighton, was kidnapped and held for ransom. Although the ransom was eventually paid in cryptocurrency, his whereabouts were still unknown until his lifeless body was found a month later.  It says that 12 people have been arrested in Costa Rica and Spain, with all reportedly being Costa Rican citizens.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/29/business/cops-involved-in-5dimes-kidnapping-murder-saga-wont-be-locked-up/

4 JAILED FOR UP TO 7 YEARS FOR 2005 SCHIPHOL DIAMOND HEIST

Customs Today reported on 29th January that 4 men, arrested in Spain and Amsterdam in 2017 in connection with a massive diamond heist at Schiphol airport in 2005, have been jailed for up to 7 years.  Armed robbers dressed as KLM staff hijacked an armoured car in a secure area of Schiphol airport and stole uncut diamonds said to be worth more than $72 million.  The diamonds were about to be loaded onto a plane and flown to Belgium.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/four-jailed-for-up-to-seven-years-for-2005-schiphol-diamond-heist/

LIQUID COCAINE SMUGGLING FROM BELGIUM INTO LEBANON FOILED

On 25th January, Customs Today reported that a suspicious vehicle imported from Belgium was tracked in the Aley neighbourhood and confiscated.  A metal box professionally concealed inside the vehicle was found and it was found to contain a heavy liquid weighing 75 kg, comprising the equivalent to 65 kg pure cocaine.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/beirut-security-foil-liquid-cocaine-smuggling-from-belgium-into-lebanon/

SECURING EVIDENCE ACROSS EU BORDERS – REPORT ON EUROPEAN INVESTIGATION ORDER

On 29th January, Eurojust advised the publication of a new report on the use of the EIO.  It said that the European Investigation Order (EIO) is proving its value as a practical tool for speeding up cross border criminal investigations in Europe.  Judicial practitioners, however, stress the need for guidance and support, since the EIO requires a sound knowledge of national criminal law systems, quick access to the right contacts and a pragmatic and flexible approach.  The EU Directive on the European Investigation Order is a stand-alone legal instrument for evidence gathering that applies to all EU Member States, with the exception of Denmark and Ireland.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-01-29.aspx

CYBERCRIME: XDEDIC ILLEGAL ONLINE MARKETPLACE DISMANTLED IN UKRAINE

On 29th January, Eurojust issued a news release about 2 criminal investigations into the xDedic Marketplace, on which access to tens of thousands of compromised servers of unknowing victims (companies and private individuals) was offered for sale.  The hacking was accomplished via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Buyers and sellers traded such RDP servers on this platform for amounts ranging from $6 to more than $10,000 each.  One investigation was initiated in Belgium and the other in the US.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-01-28.aspx

HEZBOLLAH’S BACKING OF MADURO MAY SHINE LIGHT ON LINKS WITH VENEZUELA

Insight Crime on 29th January published an article speculating on links between Hezbollah and the Maduro government.  However, it does say that reports that Hezbollah is mining gold in Venezuela to finance its own operations have so far remained unconfirmed – but the article asks what is Hezbollah doing in Venezuela?

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/does-hezbollah-backing-maduro-confirm-venezuela-terrorist-links/

SAUDI ARABIA MAY BE PRODUCING ROCKET MOTORS

On 25th January, Janes.com reported that satellite imagery suggests Saudi Arabia has built a solid-propellant rocket motor production facility next to its Al-Watah missile base.  This highlights the fact that Iran is far from the only country in the Middle East with, or pursuing, ballistic missile programmes.  For more information see Arms Control Wonk and its recent podcast.

https://www.janes.com/article/85958/saudi-arabia-may-be-producing-rocket-motors?from_rss=1

https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1206742/from-bone-saws-to-ballistic-missiles/

UK: REPORT ON WORK OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND ORGANISED CRIME DIVISION

On 29th January, a news release from the CPS reported that the HMCPSI inspectorate has found that the International Justice and Organised Crime Division continuously delivers its work to a high standard despite challenging casework.  The report recognises the Division’s specialist casework knowledge, information and tools, and highlights that knowledge management and sharing across the CPS can be improved.  The Inspectorate also highlighted that more can be done to improve risk management and performance management.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/hmcpsi-finds-international-justice-and-organised-crime-division-continuously-delivers-its

STANDARD CHARTERED BANK FINED $40 MILLION FOR ATTEMPTING TO RIG TRANSACTIONS IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKETS BETWEEN 2007 AND 2013

An article on Mondo Visione on 29th January reported that the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has fined Standard Chartered Bank $40 million for attempting to rig transactions in foreign exchange markets between 2007 and 2013.  The consent order marks the last in a series of DFS consent orders that follow a detailed investigation of manipulation in the foreign exchange markets, and the action follows previous fines totalling $3.14 billion that DFS has levied against Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs to resolve unlawful conduct in the foreign exchange trading business.  DFS’s investigation of Standard Chartered found that traders used chatrooms, e-mails, phone calls and personal meetings to attempt to rig transactions.

http://www.mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-york-state-department-of-financial-services-fines-standard-chartered-bank-4/

WORLD BANK BARS ODEBRECHT FROM CONTRACTS FOR “FRAUDULENT AND COLLUSIVE PRACTICES” DURING A PROJECT IN COLOMBIA

A post on the FCPA Blog on 29th January sad that the World Bank had debarred Brazil-based engineering and construction company Construtora Norberto Odebrecht SA for 3 years for “fraudulent and collusive practices” during a project in Colombia.  Also debarred were Odebrecht construction subsidiaries based in Colombia, Chile, Panama, Peru, Barbados, Angola, the US, Luxembourg, Austria, and the Cayman Islands.  This makes them ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects.  The project in Colombia was the World Bank-financed Río Bogotá Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project, and was designed to improve water quality and reduce flood risks along the Bogotá River.

http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2019/1/29/world-bank-debars-odebrecht-construction-units-for-fraud-and.html

RUSSIAN COUNTER-SANCTIONS: A REVIEW OF 2018 AND OUTLOOK FOR 2019

Noerr has published a report saying that, in 2018, the Russian Federation for the first time took comprehensive countermeasures to respond to the US/EU sanctions.  This response was triggered mainly by the adoption of CAATSA in the US in August 2017 and the extension of the US sanctions in April 2018.  The countermeasures are a combination of economic sanctions and measures to prevent the implementation of the US/EU sanctions in Russia.  Further countermeasures – in particular the introduction of liability for sanctions compliance in Russia – are expected in 2019.

https://www.noerr.com/~/media/Noerr/PressAndPublications/News/2015/Russland/NOERR%20-%20Russian%20counter-sanctions%202018.pdf

PRIVATE PROSECUTION OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL OFFENCES

Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon, described as a specialist in private prosecutions, has published an article which briefly considers how private prosecutions might be used to prosecute international criminal offences, an issue which it says has been highlighted by relatively recent cases.  It says a recent case highlights the potential role that private prosecutions can play in cases involving international crimes, which this article explores.

https://www.emmlegal.com/news/private-prosecution-of-international-criminal-offences/

US SANCTIONS PDVSA TO INCREASE PRESSURE ON MADURO REGIME

A comprehensive alert from law firm Wilmer Hale on 29th January details the sanctions, and the various licences, announced by the US Treasury, which described PdVSA as a “vehicle for corruption” and the “primary source of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency”.  The designation, it explains, creates new restrictions and compliance challenges for companies that have financial or commercial ties to Venezuela or to PdVSA, including through their portfolio holdings. Because PdVSA is an SDN, all its property and property interests that are in the US or under the possession or control of a US person must be blocked and may not be part of any transactions or dealings with a US nexus.  The licences amend existing authorisations and extend limited relief from broad prohibitions – but only in narrow circumstances that involve specific parties, specific periods of duration and specific types of transactions.

https://wilmerhalecommunications.com/26/3077/january-2019/us-sanctions-pdvsa-to-increase-pressure-on-maduro-regime.asp?sid=aa23ca35-5d7c-4661-afa5-e831f6c0c77d